Upper Austria Ladies Linz: Simona Halep sets SF showdown against Jaqueline Cristian

Simona Halep and Jaqueline Cristian will take on each other in a Romanian derby in the penultimate round of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz. Earlier, both Halep and Cristian came through their respective quarter-final clashes albeit in opposing fashion.

The second-seeded Halep won 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 in two hours and 13 minutes against seventh seed, Jasmine Paolini. The Italian started off the match on a booming note as she raced away in the opening set before clinching to take a lead in the proceedings. However, as the match went on, Halep wore Paolini down instead of letting her dictate play.

Halep won 69% of her first-serve points while Paolini won 55%. The latter, however, did better in winning points off her second serves – 45% to Halep’s 38%. Likewise, Halep saved four of the breakpoints she faced while converting seven of the 16 breakpoints on Paolini’s serve. The former world no. 1 finished the match with 100 points, 13 more than Paolini’s 87.

Speaking after her win, Halep said, “I’m very relieved I could win this match – it was a very, very tough one. She played so fast, so powerful, at the beginning I didn’t have time to do anything on court. But then I just tried to play a little bit of slice, a little bit changing the rhythm, then a little bit more aggressive, and in the end, I was dominating the match.”

Upper Austria Ladies Linz: Alison Riske, Danielle Collins’ rivalry reignites

Halep’s fellow countrywoman, Cristian, meanwhile, scored a 6-3, 7-6(5) upset over fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova in their quarter-final match-up. Cristian, who’s a lucky loser this week, needed an hour and 54 minutes to complete the win.

Cristian and Halep’s clash for a spot in the tournament final will be their second meeting in as many weeks in the same stage of a WTA event. A fortnight ago, Halep had defeated Cristian in the semi-finals of the Transylvania Open.

The other semi-final at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz will be contested between eighth seed Alison Riske and third seed Danielle Collins. Riske stopped Xinyu Wang 6-3, 7-5 in their quarter-final while Collins ousted Alison Van Uytvanck, 7-5, 6-3 in their last-eight meeting. 

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